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Too young to vote, but...

Gex Williams, a Republican candidate for the House seat in Kentucky's 4th Congressional District, wants to give home-schooled children a real-life civics lesson by putting them to work on his campaign.

Mr. Williams, an outspoken critic of public schools who teaches his six children at home on a farm in northeastern Kentucky, recently sent letters targeting like-minded households. "If you have any children age 12 and over, you may wish to think about them volunteering for the campaign as a home school project," The Associated Press quoted the letter as saying.

So far, dozens of children and their families have signed up to help Mr. Williams (whose first name is pronounced "Jay"), said his campaign manager, Craig Jenkins. Junior high and high school students have volunteered by making calls or sending out mailings on the candidate's behalf, Mr. Jenkins said.

Mr. Williams is running against Democrat Ken Lucas for the House seat being vacated by Senate hopeful Jim Bunning, a Republican. Mr. Lucas' campaign had no direct comment, but referred reporters to a group called Moms for Lucas.

Founder Carrie Dickman, a Boone County school board member, said she was offended by the letter, which was addressed only to fathers, and by Mr. Williams' focus on home schooling. "I need a congressman who understands what it is like to send children to public school in a 75-year-old building," Ms. Dickman said.

Mark Hegener, the publisher of the Washington-state-based Home Education Magazine, said home schoolers have always actively supported candidates. "There's nothing like the real world for an education," he said.

Bipartisan breakfast

When representatives of the Heritage Foundation and the Urban Institute end up in the same room, it's usually to debate policy. Last Thursday, however, the conservative think tank and its more liberal counterpart found a cause they could both support. The two Washington organizations hosted a $25-a-plate "Breakfast for Champions" fund-raiser for the Cesar Chavez Public Policy Charter High School in the nation's capital.

The charter school, which opened this fall with 60 students in the 9th grade, specializes in a rigorous, government-oriented curriculum. The $2,000 raised will help pay transportation costs for students who have had a hard time getting to school.

--Anjetta Mcqueen & Joetta L. Sack

Vol. 18, Issue 9, Page 24

Published in Print: October 28, 1998, as Federal File

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